Archives for the month of: August, 2012

Before I became a parent, I never understood why every baby I saw was a micro-version of Cousin Itt.  (I know.  You’re probably thinking Southern California is full of organic tie-dye hippie types that don’t want to disturb nature by doing anything un-natural to baby like brushing its teeth, washing its body, or doing the most anti-hippie thing possible…cutting its hair.  Well, you’re half right.)

The reason these parents don’t cut their baby’s hair is because unlike adult hair, baby hair has nerve endings that can cause baby to scream in agony when severed.  That seems to be the only logical reason why they would scream during haircuts.  Don’t worry though, they should grow out of it.

Parents get attached to their baby’s hair.  It’s that simple.  You’ve created this little monster bundle of joy and you want to know whether his or her hair will grow out curly or stay straight.  You want to know if the sun will change baby hair color better than bottle bleach.  You want to know if baby will naturally develop a ‘Billy Idol‘ or ‘Jennifer Aniston‘ hairdo.  (Don’t ask me why these two hairstyles came to mind.)  Or your kid was born with premature male pattern baldness and you’re praying for enough growth to do a combover.  We fell into this last category.

We had to let Worm’s hair grow out to cover up the baldness.  Sadly, time traded us the hairy cul-de-sac for an 80’s mullet.  Steph and I lived with our decision (to do nothing) for a while, but what message were we sending to America by letting Worm sport a mullet?  That American children should mix business with pleasure?  That it’s ok to look like a boy from the front and a girl from behind?  How could we add fuel to the gender confused fire that our country fearfully burns.  We both knew that in this day and age, our society was not advanced enough to accept the unconservative mullet hairstyle…even though Jesus rocked a feather mullet.  But, I’m not judging here.  I’m just sayin’.

Although Steph and I talked about trimming Worm’s hair for a couple months, we only made the decision after a brief (yet, life-changing) encounter with a mother and child outside our favorite Chinese food restaurant.

“How old’s your little girl?”

Perplexed that this woman couldn’t see a strapping young lad of 15 months behind his long, pretty eyelashes, delicate facial features, and curly ringlets, I played along.  “My baby is 15 months old.  Not walking yet, though.  Like your son.”

“Oh, be careful what you wish for.  Once your girl starts walking, you’ll be chasing her around everywhere.”

There she goes again.  Why does she emphasize GIRL?  At this point, I can’t just tell this lady that my ‘she’ is a ‘he’.  It’s too late.  We’re too far into our conversational relationship.  (Saying anything at this point is akin to telling your soon-to-be wife at the alter that you are starting to have second thoughts.  Awkward.)  To save her the mentally scarring thought that my son is the most effeminate boy she’s ever seen, I allow this woman to reassign Worm’s gender for the length of the conversation.

When this mom and toddler left, Steph and I figured it was time for a trim.

Dad, No Time For Cutting My Hair! I’ve Got To Figure Out What This Thing Is!

(The title is a bad nerd joke.  Sorry, I try to control it with medication.)

Should I have my anxiety attack now or after #2 is born?  I know nothing about girls.

Let me explain further.  I know absolutely nothing about girls.  Just ask my wife…

I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare me for a baby girl more adding an extra bathroom and expanding her dress closet.

Luckily, the internet has loads of the parenting answers that clueless dads like me are searching for.  So, pink doilies, pink ponies, and pink sweatpants with ‘PINK’ written on the backside will be showing up on our doorstep soon.  Thank you Al Gore for one-click internet shopping!

I feel like the expectations for me to raise a little girl properly are high.  With Worm, the bar is set on the ground.  Keep him from torching himself.  Keep him from cracking open his head.  Make sure his limbs and digits stay attached to his body.  Pat him on the back every now and then with a “Good job, son.” thrown in for positive support.  No one second guesses your parenting style with a boy.  They just say “Oh.  He’s a spirited one!” or “He’s got some gumption!”  (Ok, no one under 60 says that anymore, but you get my drift.  Does anyone even say ‘drift’ anymore?)

With a little girl, I fear the mothers’ stink eye.  When we go out in public, I’m sure every mother will be peering into my daddy daughtering techniques.  They’ve got to, right?  I’m raising one of their own species.  They will gasp and chatter about how I’m doing this all wrong and that I’m doing that all wrong.  And that I don’t understand because I’m a man.  I’ll just smile and say “Oh, this time of month is rough for you, eh?  But don’t worry, you look like you’ll be post-menopausal soon.”  Then I’ll just grab #2 and run away as fast as I can!

I know what they are going to say to me.  “You’re supposed to braid her hair, not tie a double overhand knot into it!” Or “Can’t you see the mauve pants and periwinkle tube tops don’t match her green jelly strap sandals?” (Luckily, I can use color blindness as my escape plan.  Ah, the old X chromosome deformity excuse.)  Or even better “Why isn’t she allowed to go to the spa and get a mani-pedi facial?  She’s already 3 years old!”

As a reference, here’s what men are going to tell me.  “You’ve got a girl?  Good luck brother.  I hope you make it out alive.”  Or “Holy crap man.  With two women in the house, you should set up a bed in the garage for the one week a month you’ll be hiding out there.  It will help you defend yourself.”  Or the extremely terrifying delivery of “You’re going to find out more about women than you ever wanted to know. You’ll think the loony bin makes more sense than your house.”

Girls are fragile.  Girls are delicate.  Watch what you say to them.  They are sensitive.  You can’t treat them like boys.  You’ve got to wipe them the other way.  Don’t manhandle them.  Girls are not designed to do one thing at time.  Don’t hold her upside down, her insides may shift around or even fall out.  Don’t say no to your daughter, it will scar her for life.  

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  I’m so nervous and excited that I’m just going to close my eyes and let the bat rip.

3 Lines (near the arrow) = Girl. 3 Lines (near the arrow) != pumpkin turned on it’s side with part of the bottom missing.

…Baby #2 is a girl!

Our gang is growing by 20%.  (For you number crunchers, I’m including our furry kids too!)  The current ratio of male members to female members is 4:1.  The testosterone laden bunch (mainly me, at this point) rule the roost when Steph’s at work.

Is this lopsided ratio going to even out a little?  I’m 99.9% sure that it won’t.  Using my magical powers of deduction and perception, it’s certain.  Once the stork drops off #2, we’ll be looking at a baby with a few extra body parts, if you know what I mean.  And if Steph thinks she’s outnumbered now, just wait until January.  It will be more of the same rip-roaring, dirt flinging, frog catching, video-game playing, beer drinking, alphabet burping and musical farting action at our place!

(Besides, who wants a pretty little baby girl to muck up the manliness we’ve got goin’ on by wrapping daddy around her little finger and getting her way all the time?  Not me…Ok, maybe that would be awesome too…)

We’ve got a couple days left until the ultrasound.

You got guts?  Wanna bet against the house?  VOTE IN THE BLACK BOX ABOVE!

(This post was from last week, but there were technical difficulties with WordPress.)

There are days when the toll of fatherhood drills the very core of a man.  That toll wanted to be paid in full this morning.  Not in money, but in pounds of sanity.  (It’s happened to me before.  But, I’ve always blacked out from mental anguish only to later wake up remembering nothing at all.)  As I sat there in the living room staring at my progeny, I could only wonder what was sticking to my neck, how much alcohol could ease me through to Friday, and why I could translate Curious George’s cackles into full sentences.

Then, I was snapped back into the present with Duncan licking baby yogurt off my foot.  I just couldn’t bring the right attitude to the day.  I was in a bad mood and needed to zone out on the couch for a few uninterrupted hours.  Is that wrong?  Could I just toss Worm into his crib, close the door and let him amuse himself all afternoon?  Was I shirking my responsibility as a parent?  Should I be ashamed for not wanting to clean poop, wipe up food, or chase Worm around ad nauseum today?  If life had a pause feature, the second button press wouldn’t come until dinner time.

I stared off into space as Worm played with his food.  My brain was checking out.  I didn’t want to deal with the chores and baby that lay in front of me.  I couldn’t will myself to be engaging, funny or entertaining.  On the outside, I wasn’t more than a body taking up space.  On the inside, I was somewhere else entirely.  My guilty conscience rattled between my ears that “A good dad wouldn’t be so disconnected.  You should make an effort to ‘be’ with the Worm.  He needs you.  It’s your job.  Selfish asshole.”

A good dad.  I sure as hell didn’t feel like one and my thoughts concurred.  Even my actions spoke loud and clear that I was in no mood to be a dad today.   I didn’t want to do dad stuff.  I didn’t want to play with toy cars, or dig in the sand lot, or cut hot dogs into bite size pieces.  I was worn out, beat down, and drained.  I needed to recharge.

Then as if he heard me, Worm stopped what he was doing and looked up at me with the sweetest look only your child could give.  He patted me on the elbow and smiled as if to say “It’s alright, dad.  I think you’re doing a great job and I love you.”

Then he rest his head on my arm and gave me his little Worm hug.

I shed a couple tears realizing the Worm was there for me as much as I was there for him.

There are as many pillars as there are people in a family.  And when the roof starts to shake and one pillar weakens, the strength of the other pillars are plain to see.  We’re all holding this house together, no one more than the next.  (It’s a good reason to have plenty of kids…)  Thanks for your love and support Worm!

Gavin – 15; Dad – 7 (Bring me those hot dogs.  I’m ready to julienne the hell out of them for you again, Worm!)

We Pick Each Other Up…

I can’t find it.  It’s disappeared.  And I’m pissed.  I thought it would be another year before Worm stopped napping twice a day.

I was getting used to having about almost 5 hours of “me” time per diem.

Step 1 – Keep Worm’s brain and body in high gear until he ran out of gas.

Step 2 – Put Worm into sleep mode.  (He’d nap for a solid part of the day and I would catch up on my work and personal tasks.)

Step 3 – When Worm wakes up, repeat the sequence.

I was money.  I had this whole parenting thing on cruise control while I focused my mind on important matters.  I was the SAHD of every man’s dreams.  (It’s kind of gross when I ponder too deeply the thought of being in every man’s dreams.)

“What?  You can feed the hungry, build houses in Africa, and raise Gavin at the same time?  Where do you find the hours in the day?” the other dads would ask me.  And I would grin and reply “And one day I will stop global warming…but that will be sometime after #2 is born.  I need a challenge.”

All of a sudden, I’m getting half the “me” time and the s#!t has hit the fan.  I’m scrambling to keep it together because my system has failed.  I’m losing sleep at night to get stuff done and I’m a zombie in the daylight when I need energy to match Worm’s exuberance.  I feel like I’m trying to cram 10 pounds of proverbial s#!t in a 5 pound bag.

Do you know what I’ve now got to squeeze into that tiny window of opportunity?

Here’s my list:

  • Eat breakfast (“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll)
  • Wash dishes (“No husband has ever been shot while he was doing dishes.” – Unknown)
  • Clean kitchen (“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” – Phyllis Diller)
  • Check and answer emails  (“I get email, therefore I am.” – Unknown)
  • Pack merchandise for internet business (“Folks who get all wrapped up in themselves, sure do make small packages.” – Unknown)
  • Exercise  (“It’s not sweat, it’s my body crying from the pain.” – Unknown)
  • Eat lunch (“As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.” – Buddy Hackett)
  • Take a shower  (“Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.” – P.J. O’Rourke)
  • Relax for a few minutes before Worm wakes up (“Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.” – Anatole France)

And at least for the next week, I’m trying to fit watching the Olympics somewhere in there.

So, if you’re wondering why my blog has slowed to a crawl, it’s Worm’s fault!  Too bad Worm doesn’t see things the way Yogi did.

“I usually try to take a two hour nap from 1 to 4.”

– Yogi Berra

He’s So Adorable When He Sleeps, Sometimes I Can’t Help But Wake Him Up And Kiss Him!


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